Friday, 30 December 2016

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Early armour for the Republicans

The Republic rushes reinforcements to the Madrid front in order to stop the Nationalist Army of Africa from taking the capital! The action is taking place near of the pueblo of Dos Casas - easy to see why in the pictures - and it shows a number of early vehicles used in the conflict, sometimes by both sides.

Here a Hispano-Suiza MC-36 from Minairons. It's a simple and big model and at least one was used with a T-26 turret as HQ vehicle also in Franco's army.

This Camion Protegido Nash-Quad is by Panzer-Garage and has an SHQ British paratrooper as commander from the leftover box.

Again by Minairons a pair of Carros Blindados Bilbao Mod.32. They were mostly used by the blue- later grey- clad Guardia de Asalto. The figure comes from the Minairons T-26.

When they started, Irregular Miniatures was so enthusiastic about the SCW that they produced a strange Trubia tank, probably based on the few pictures available some years ago. Now, particularly in Spanish language, there is plenty of information about one of the few real tanks ever produced in Spain (nothing to be ashamed, in Portugal we never had any). The model has several faults mainly the lenght of the track part which is short by some 5mm something hard to come by. Even so I detailed a little bit more the charismatic Hotchkiss Mg's, placed the frontal roller, made the turret cupolla taller and desguised with stowage the rear part as the parts that connect the tail to the hull also don't fit.
 I'm sure that if IM remodels it's Trubia they will solve these problems.

Another IM model, and much better designed, the Schneider tank. I only added the home made rear stowage boxes and the Hotchkiss Mg's.

The Russians arrive! The BA-6 by Pegasus is a quick build model and you get two models in the box which are really good!

Can you imagine the noise produced? Easy to guess why Dos Casas is deserted...

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale- Conversions for the Infantry and Cavalry

In the last few weeks I've been secretly building my SCW armies, a little bit like the Nationalists prepared their coup against the Republic (as a Republican by hart these last ones are my favourits). The problem of a new period is the amount of reading you need and your own misconceptions you have to rebuild regarding  that period.

The reading issue was, as usual, solved by my friend JMM who sent me the usual pile of books inside a Pendrive. The misconceptions issue is still being solved -  with the help of the books of course: until then I was thinking the SCW was a struggle between Republican militia and professional Nationalists; that there was no big battles at corps level, uniforms were, well, not mandatory and many other silly ideas of mine.

In SCW wargaming and modelling you can find a never ending number of very interesting units from Carlists to International brigades; Italians and Republican regulars; Moors and Guardia Civil. The Spanish literature on uniforms, aircraft and vehicles is very good and lately the magazine Desperta Ferro has dedicated entire volumes to the Spanish Civil War. Of course Osprey and many other editors in english language also have very good reading material.

Frankly, the SCW craze is not new for me. A few years ago I already built a few airplanes in plastic that I will show you soon. Recently I kept making some new planes and also ordered some Minairons, Pegasus and Panzer Garage vehicles for the SCW while making the Blitzkrieg models. With the arrival of  two of those big packs of Irregular Miniatures infantry each with 100 models things got more serious and now I can say, NO PASARAN!

Some of the Republicans of Irregular Miniatures are intended for Militia and have no headdress so I made Isabelino caps and berets for them out of GreenStuff so they can join the Exercito Popular Español. The arms were also placed in a more casual position just by twisting the nice metal in which IM figures is made of.

The Irregular Miniatures  Guardia Civiles have no support weapons and I think they are right as I've never seen any picture or  description saying they had them, excepuating a sole HMG per Battalion.
  But, just in case and to make the Guardia Civil more autonomous, I added to the German ESCI Mg's the head of laying down George Washington's Airfix heads. Now these unfortunately famous security force can have some support.

I'm also converting Moors as the Nationalist pack of IM brings only a dozen of these fearful warriors. For that I needed the baggiest trousers possible with a torso from the decade of 10 or 20. The Revell WWI Germans were the chosen ones with heads from the ESCI Muzlims. The backpack was taken out and replaced with a blanket and a sash.

Also only two dozen Guardia de Asalto in the Republican pack of IM. So a few more were built from the body of Revell US Marines and heads from the Airfix WWI British set.

This Republican Cavalry squadron is made out of the bodies of Revell Soviet Cossacks with ESCI WWII French heads. The Hasegawa cavalryman that goes along with the M-3 Stuart gave a nice guidon bearer.

The Nationalist IM pack along some conversions and also BUM Legionarios.

The Republicans were also joined by some conversions and packless WWII French and Russians  from ESCI.

Next: planes and tanks.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - Eben-emael, 1940

The German attack on the Belgian fortress of Eben-emael is a striking image on the imagination of every WWII buff.  A group of less then 80 Glider borne attackers dominated 800 defenders after careful planning. The standard ratio of 1 figure to 15 men in Rapid Fire! terms is what you can see in the picture but hopefully in the future another two or three gliders and bunkers with a few more paratroopers can produce a ratio of 1 to 2 which can be more apropriate for these kind of small actions and possible in Rapid Fire!

 The bunker is a two piece Frontline Wargaming model. I think it's no longer produced but something close can be scratch built.

The German paratroopers are hard plastic Preiser in 1/72nd scale.

The DFS 230 Glider is another Frontline Wargaming model. Only the struts connecting the fuselage to the wings were added as extras.

Also only two additions to the bunker: some barbed wire and a camouflage net. The joint between the two roof top and the walls is not the best but in the end is a nice and big model that portrays well the Belgian forts and that can also be used to the Maginot Line.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - Reinforcements for the 1st and 3rd German Leichte Divisions.

I managed to finish a third battalion of Blitzkrieg German Infantry and a few more Czech Pz38t, Pz35t  and armoured cars.

Not much new this time with the exception of the middle row of tanks which are the Pz35t for the 1st Leichte division.

This is the Pz35t from First To Fight  with added crew from PSC leftovers.
(Sh.... barrels glued upside down! Ok, corrected, if only discovered march 2017... shameful).

Now a comparison between the Pz38t from First To Fight (left on both pictures) and Frontline Wargaming (right on both pictures). They are very similar and Frontline 38t only needs some MG's which came again from surplus PSC parts.

Altaya Pz38t (top) and PSC Pz38t. Here the main difference are the rivets on the PSC model which are almost non existent in the Altaya model.

Good old Matchbox  in all its glory! (finally I found what to do with them).

The crew member is the old and useful driver of the ESCI King Tiger.

Nothing new with the infantry. Again all possible plastics and some conversions on mortars, HMG's  and radioman. Blitzkrieg fever is slowly passing and giving its way to Guadalajara, Brunete and the Ebro... if you know what I mean...

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - German Infantry.

German infantry prepares to invade another neighbour around 1939-40...

Most of the figures are the normal Italeri, Atlantic, Esci and alike. But I placed a big number of my big chinese copies of the Airfıx German Infantry in these battalions. Unfortunatly its no longer easy to see these copies. They had the big advantage of being cheap,  closer to 1/72nd scale than the original ones and being made in a much less bendable plastic that can help the durability of your painting. On the downside, of course, a loss of detail was obvious which also ruined many figures.

So two new battalions for RF! The HT's are the same of a few posts ago when I showed you my first German armour for Blitzkrieg.

The Tatra Kubelwagen above is an Attack Hobby Kit.

I scratch built the 50mm mortars using four small Evergreen parts: two small rectangles for the base, one support for the tube and the tube itself. I painted all figures in the greener field grey tunics and slate grey trousers of the beginning of the war.

The Esci HMG's had a third support leg and the typical pads to the frontal leg were also added. The figure to the right is the Esci radio man, without its radio. The Mg barrel got extra paint and varnish in order to round the MG42 barrel to look like the MG34.

The 81mm mortar also saw the triangular support roughly added.

And this is the place were the radio of the Esci fıgure went: to the back of a running Revell figure.

The Atlantic mini to the left asks the Radioman  'can you hold alone all ze veight?' The Radioman didn't answer... As you can see wargaming is also the birth place of some great theater literature!

The variety of German infantry on the market is huge. Along the years I amassed hundreds of them that were used to make standard 1944, Afrika Korps, Luftwaffe and Volksgrenadier battalions. So I'm not using the more recent and sophisticated Caesar or Emhar miniatures at least until I have finished my boxes of German extra figures.  

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - Polish armour

The oposition against the Germans from last post arrives. They may not have 30mm armour plating but they have incredible guts and much more beautiful camouflage!

All are Made in Poland First to Fight models.

A Fiat 621 with some Hat figures occupies its position (and in my collection at least they were really the First to Fight...).

I painted the vehicles as they were in real life: first the green colour, and then the camouflage sand and brown. The green was obtained by mixing around 80% Vallejo Russian Green with some Yellow.

A 7TP tank looks for targets. This tank was better than most of its opponents but there were too few of them.

Twin Turreted Vickers E join the defense of father land.

TK3 looks big here but was probably the smallest tank(ette) of WWII.

WZ-34 armoured car with an ESCI French officer from their WWII soft plastic box.


The ruined city is made of old and trustable Matchbox parts glued together and with lots of grit around. Everything was black primed and then other colours were added from dark to light.

The First to Fight vehicles are very good and easy to built models. For wargaming though they have some fragile parts namely the MG's and main guns. In most cases I replaced them with a slightly thicker and more bendable Evergreen part.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - Some German fresh units for 3rd Leichte division

Recently on a visit to ModelScala in Montijo I grabbed a nice group of Polish vehicles from First To Fight and a few more boxes of Polish Hat infantry.

Blitzkrieg showed again on my head. But, as in history, Germans raced ahead.

I had some of these models built years ago while others were gifts from friends with some painted and others not. In order to come back to Blitzkrieg it was easier to start with the Germans as they were half done than start with the Poles who are still in the boxes.

This is the old Esci Sdkfz 251 command version with some added side antennae and  PSC and Preiser figures.

Fujimi's 38t with a Esci commander and added Evergreen sturdy, extra thick and thus unbreakable aerials. I'm not pleased to show you the Nazi flag but it's just for historical accuracy.

The Atlantic BMW side-car is an old and big gem. A few years ago I offered a few to some motorbike lovers but I started to regret it immediately (and now more than ever!).

The Matchbox Sdkfz 261 6-Rad has the Polish campaign white crosses. If you noticed the 38t's have the 1940 crosses while the 251's have the open white crosses also in use during the last weeks of the Polish campaigns as the Polish 37mm Bofors were having a nice way not to miss the target. Not so much for accuracy of a specific campaign, I know.

The artillerymen of the Pak 36 came from Esci, Airfix and Fujimi while the Pak's themselves came from Matchbox and Fujimi.

Matchbox again this time with the Krupp Kfz. 69. For the camouflage of this group I used Vallejo German Grey with blotches of Citadel Mourfang Brown. Recent publications insist on the Brown camouflage and I'm happy for that as the Germans get some extra colour.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Rapid Fire! Gulf wars in 1/72nd scale - Iraqi rocket brigade

With this post starts the presentation of my Gulf Wars ground armies. I have the full Iraqi 3rd Armoured Saladin division, the 5th Mechanized division and  many Qatari, Saudi, US and British  battalion sized units to show you. I'm in the process of basing the tanks for Rapid Fire! but basing is all they need so I hope to speed up the posts to keep your nails and hart safe...

A Frog-7 battalion is parked while the even more famous Scud-B passes guided by a communications Zil-157.

The Zil is an ICM plastic model. The Scud-B is a resin ARMO model. The Frog-7 are conversions from the Uragans of the last post.

The ARMO model is a beauty. The amount of parts and detail forces you to use a careful painting. The figures standing by are ordinary command sections I'll show you when posting the Iraqi infantry.

And here it is the Frog-7 with the famous red triangle of the Republican guard. All vehicles were painted Vallejo Iraqi sand. The missiles on the Frog-7 were painted buff as they appear to be in a different color I saw in photos of captured vehicles.